Feeling a bit fresh

September 25, 2010

As wonderful as the fresh produce is here in Istanbul, because the markets very much rely on local, seasonal vegetables and fruit, there is often not much choice in the actual variety of what’s on offer.

Yes, I love the full-flavoured tomatoes, sweet red peppers and deep purple aubergines, but I have been craving a bit of a change in my diet. So, when I spotted a large pile of gorgeously bright green broccoli piled on a market stall a couple of days ago – something I hadn’t seen for sale here before – I grabbed as much as I could carry.

It’s always been one of my favourite vegetables, and I could have easily have just munched my way through the stuff raw. But today, for lunch, I made the next best thing.

Lightly steamed, I combined the broccoli florets with shredded raw red cabbage and carrot, then piled the lot onto a mixture of lettuce and rocket, and dressed it with a vinaigrette made with some Turkish “grape vinegar” – essentially Balsamic vinegar, but as it doesn’t come from the Balsamic region, I guess, technically, you can’t call it that.

On the side, is a simit – a ubiquitous Turkish snack, usually described as bagel-like. There are men with little carts on virtually every street corner selling these bread rings, and they are really tasty. Before baking, the rings are dipped in molasses, then coated in sesame seeds to give them their unique flavour and texture.

Afterwards, still on my fresh and raw tip, I decided to cut into another new find for me – a teeny , tiny melon. I’m not sure what kind of melon it grows up to be, but they are sold as small as 3-4in long, and when I showed it to Süleyman, he said, “Mmm, yummy.”

Unfortunately, he wasn’t around when I decided to eat it. I say unfortunately, because I actually really didn’t like it. It kind of tasted like a cross between a cantaloupe melon and a courgette, but not very strongly of either.

In fact, I just couldn’t eat it at all, so put the untouched half into the fridge for Süleyman to finish off later, and decided to have something I know I like – fresh figs.

Now, this is when the seasonal thing comes into its own in Istanbul. It’s the perfect time of year for fresh figs, and I’m stuffing myself silly with them at the moment. My favourite way to eat them is with a great dollop of yoghurt on top. Which is exactly how I finished my lunch today.

So fresh and so healthy, it made me feel rather virtuous!


6 Responses to “Feeling a bit fresh”

  1. Ravenous Ro Says:

    Hmmm figs and yoghurt, I could eat that now if only I had some.

    I do have a citreon tart for later tonight though to eat around J&J’s.

  2. As much as I love the fresh figs and amazing yoghurt here, when I hear the words “lemon tart”, I start to really miss my oven. However, it does look like we’ve found a solution to our baking situation, so watch this space.
    In the meantime, shame you can’t send a piece of tart over to me via t’internet…

  3. PS An update on that mini melon thingy… I spotted a street vendor loaded with them today. Plus a very large container of, um, salt. So it seems I got the wrong end of the flavour stick with that particular fruit, er, vegetable.

  4. .. well, the question is, have you now tried the melon thingy sprinkled with salt?

  5. Hehe, no, ‘fraid not. There are few foodie things in this world that I don’t like, but usually they are things that are bland and downright boring, rather than disgusting. And this was so tasteless that not even a good sprinkling of salt would redeem it for me. So I think I’ll pass…

  6. Choclette Says:

    Thank goodness for figs – sounds as though they more than made up for the melon.

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